The Obstacle in the Fast Lane

This morning, I was driving in to work when I got caught behind a slowpoke in the fast lane. Since I was already late, I found this frustrating, so I gently tried to "encourage" him to move over to the slow lane.

Ok, I tailed him.

This went on for a bit, but he didn't move. Maybe he didn't notice. Maybe he didn't care. Either way, I started simmering in my frustration and getting caught up in the story of how wrong he was. And so I refused to budge on my stance, staying stuck behind him to make a point.

It was a standoff and I was holding my ground.

But when I looked into my rear view mirror, I saw the cars behind me getting over into the slow lane, passing by me and the slowpoke, and moving on. And that's when I realized that in my attempt to stick to a principle, I was the one losing out. If this was a game, I was the only player. The only character in this story was me.

The slowpoke was going at his own speed, and the cars behind me were moving around this obstacle, but I was holding myself hostage to a principle. All I could see was the problem, and my stubbornness wouldn't let me get around it.

This made me think about how our anger slows us down.
And how we let it.

And I wondered how different things would be if, instead of forcing others to conform to our ideals, we just let them be and moved around them. If, like a river flowing around the rocks on its path, we just flowed on by our own obstacles, instead of being held up by them.

So I decided to slow down.

Nothing much changed with that decision. The slow guy kept going slow. The faster cars kept going fast. But something essential shifted inside of me. The tension in my body dissipated, my frustration subsided, and when I looked around, there was no storyline, no principle to uphold, no game. And that's when I realized that the obstacle was never the slowpoke in front of me.

The obstacle was me.

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